Iran protests: Government lifts block on Telegram

Telegram, which counts some 25 million users in Iran, was blocked on mobile phones during the five days of unrest that hit dozens of cities over the new year. 

Published: 14th January 2018 04:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th January 2018 04:31 PM   |  A+A-

The government accused 'counter-revolutionaries' and foreign groups of inciting violence via social media during the unrest (File | AP)

By AFP

TELEGRAM: Iran has lifted restrictions imposed during recent protests on the country's most popular social media app Telegram.

AFP journalists were able to access the service on Sunday and officials confirmed it has been restored. 

"The information concerning the end of filtering on Telegram is correct," a spokesman for the telecoms ministry told AFP. 

Telegram, which counts some 25 million users in Iran, was blocked on mobile phones during the five days of unrest that hit dozens of cities over the new year. 

The semi-official ISNA news agency said the restrictions on Telegram had been "entirely lifted under orders of (President Hassan Rouhani)."

The government accused "counter-revolutionaries" and foreign groups of inciting violence via social media during the unrest, and also temporarily cut mobile access to photo sharing app Instagram. 

They also blocked some VPN privacy apps, which are commonly used to get around longstanding bans on sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. 

Rouhani said during the unrest that the restrictions were necessary, but should not be "indefinite". 

He accused conservative opponents of using the protests to impose widespread censorship. 

"You want to take the opportunity to shut down this social media for eternity. You might sleep well, but 40 million people had problems... 100,000 people lost their jobs," Rouhani said on January 9, referring to complaints that many businesses were hit by the Telegram shutdown. 

The head of the country's cybercrime committee, Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, had earlier criticised the government for not blocking Telegram sooner, and said officials should be "punished" if it was found they deliberately failed to act against online "trouble-makers and enemies". 

Conservatives have also called for the development of local apps to replace Instagram and Telegram.

Rouhani's support for temporary restrictions still represented something of a reversal for a president who has vowed to end all online censorship. 

Just three weeks before the unrest, on December 19, Rouhani told the country's first conference on civil liberties: "We will not seek to filter social media. Our telecoms minister promises the people he will never touch the filtering button."

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

facebook twitter whatsapp